I work in one of three ways:

in Microsoft Word using Track Changes
on PDF in PDF XChange Editor using proofreading stamps, comments and highlighting
on paper using the BSI 2005 proof-correction marks
Copy Editing

This includes as many of these as are required:

  • Correction of spelling, punctuation and grammar errors;
  • Some (generally light) rewriting or restructuring of phrases/sentences where they sound slightly awkward or unclear;
  • Where appropriate, some queries or comments about content – e.g. if something appears to be missing or could be elaborated on, or is repeated frequently;
  • Where appropriate, suggestions for breaking long paragraphs into shorter chunks, or minor rearrangement of information to make it clear;
  • Checking accuracy of Contents page – ensuring chapter headings and sub-headings match those of the actual chapter, and where relevant checking that the page numbering is correct; checking running headers/footers (where present) are in the right place, consistent and correct;
  • Thorough check for the consistency of, among others: capitalisation, use of hyphens, heading style, caption style where appropriate, spellings (e.g. words which can be spelt with –se or –ze), formatting, abbreviations, how numbers are written (either words/numbers, not both, except if one to ten and then 11 onwards), etc.
  • Corrections of the above to ensure consistency across the book, correcting errors and where there is more than one usage, if all are correct, choosing the most common one.

I carry out a second check to catch any errors missed the first time around.

Finally, I write a report summarising key changes and explaining them, and flagging up queries for your attention (which will also be highlighted in the book itself).

Follow-up discussion, where required, by phone or email is also included.

Proofreading is lighter touch and is intended as a final check before publishing, to catch those errors that have been missed in previous checks. It is unlikely to include rewriting or significant alterations to the structure of sentences, and would be extremely unlikely to include suggestions for adding to, or changing, content. If this sort of work is required, it is likely that a copy edit is needed, not a proofread. I always check for consistency when proofreading, because I find this always needs attention.
Manuscript Reviews

Others might call these critiques but I like to emphasise the positive, constructive nature of my reports. I review manuscripts (mainly non-fiction) before they are edited, proofread and then published or self-published.
My work consists of reading the manuscript from start to finish, and writing a 3-5 page report on the book, addressing its strengths and weaknesses in terms of structure and content. My reports generally also include comments on individual points and pages, where things have occurred to me while I was reading.

Books I have reviewed include business, religious, travel memoirs and self-help.

My reports are honest and constructive and aim to pinpoint areas that still require development. If it is not too early to make this assessment, I would also be able to give you some idea of whether you need proofreading, or copy editing, or even developmental editing.

I am not able to give you any professional opinion as to the likely success of your book, but I can give you my opinion, both as an enthusiastic reader and from an editorial point of view.
Get in touch now for my current rates

Every job is different so I don’t publish my rates. However, I will very happily give you a quote if you send me a sample of your work and tell me what the word count is. I may have other questions before I can give you a quote, but we can cross that bridge when we get there.

I usually charge per hour, but for students I charge per 1,000 words.

Note for students: Due to the specific nature of proofreading for students, I have very specific guidelines regarding what I can and cannot do. Please ask to see these.